Relocate to the coast and save

If you’re looking for a more relaxed lifestyle and a reasonably priced property to go with it, living in a coastal holiday town could just be the answer.

“In recent years there has been a noticeable increase in the number of people seeking to escape the crime, grime and traffic congestion of big cities by taking up permanent residence in small towns and villages and commuting infrequently to their offices,” says Harcourts Africa CEO Martin Schultheiss.

“This ‘semigration’ has of course been facilitated by the increasing use of technology and the growth of the work-from-home concept, but lately, many of those relocating have also been giving up their stressful big city jobs and opting to buy or start their own businesses in their new home towns, so that they don’t need to commute at all.

“They have seen opportunities in service provision for other new residents, the growth of eco- and adventure-tourism and in small-scale organic farming, for instance.”

However, he says, making such a move can prove expensive in property terms. “By definition, the supply of pre-owned homes in small towns is limited and an influx of semigrants can cause prices to rise sharply. On the other hand, the estates that have been and are being developed near popular country towns tend to be aimed at the top end of the market.

“But according to the latest statistics from First National Bank, this may not be a problem for those who choose a holiday town on the coast as their next home.”

The bank’s figures show, Schultheiss notes, that the property market is recovering more slowly in such towns than in the major metros. “While sales volumes are up by around 25% in most metro areas, the increase has not been anything like this yet in most of the coastal towns traditionally regarded as holiday destinations.

“This means that prices in metro areas are likely to start rising well before those in coastal towns, creating a window of opportunity for those planning a relocation to sell their city property and buy a new home at the coast for quite a bit less – especially if the town they choose still has a surplus of the holiday homes that were simultaneously placed on the market during the recession.

“As always, though, homeowners should not decide to make such a move without expert market advice from a reputable estate agency group – and preferably one that is represented in both the metro and the preferred coastal location.”

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